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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  February 17, 2012 10:00am-12:00pm PST

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it strayed into restricted air space and police found a load of marijuana on board. the cnn "newsroom" continues with ashleigh banfield. >> hello, everyone. i'm ashleigh banfield. it's 1:00 on the east coast and 10:00 in the west. let's get you right into the zone, shall we? final preparations under way at this hour for the funeral of whitney houston that takes place at the church where whitney houston sang as a young child. the new hope baptist church in newark, new jersey. there will be a private viewing for just the family today at the funeral home. the source says that whitney's mother, cissy houston, is quote, doing well. the investigation into houston's shocking death last saturday continues on several fronts. we'll have more on that in just
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a moment. in the meantime, tomorrow, of course a time for deep grieving but also a time for celebration of an incredible life and music from one of this country's greatest singers, perhaps even one of the world's greatest singers. as you can expect, music will be a big part of the funeral tomorrow. stevie wonder and aretha franklin and kevin costner will speak. singer roberta flack will be there. bobby brown, a source of controversy whether he was going to be there. he has confirmed that he will be there as well. and aretha franklin spoke about her very close relationship with whitney houston and here she talks about the first time that whitney came to her studio. >> she was about 9 or 10 years old. she had these little pigtails with a part in the middle of the
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head. very cute little girl. she sat down, was very, very quiet for the rest of the afternoon. and i think they instructed her to be quiet. so she was complying. and at that time i did not know she wanted to be a singer. >> she didn't tell you that? >> no. >> when was the first time you heard her sing? >> around 1979, '78, something like that, i think. saving all my love for you. and when she hit the soprano i thought, oh, this little girl can sing. okay. as most people who had close ties with whitney houston, aretha franklin is still dealing with the shock of the singer's death and here's what she said about the song that she's planning to sing tomorrow. >> it's not going to be easy. i will tell you that.
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it's not going to be easy. but cissy asked me to and i'm just going to try to do my best. >> do you know what you're going to sing? >> not really sure right now. not really sure. >> and people who knew her personally are speaking out about their personal relationship. here is what award singer deborah cox said about memorable moments with whitney houston. >> for me, growing up with her music was life changing. to be in the studio with her, to sing that song was a dream come true. being face-to-face with her in the mike, just the two of us exchanging, was the most beautiful -- >> and cox had a duet called "same script, different cast" on
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whitney houston's greatest hits album. by the way, the family hasn't said where houston is going to be laid to rest but it lists the low kag as the fair view cemetery in new jersey, the same place where whitney houston's father was laid to rest. i want to remind you that you can watch the funeral for whitney right here on cnn. join soledad o'brien, piers morgan, and don lemon for live coverage beginning at 11:00 in the morning eastern time. it's been nearly a week now since whitney houston died in los angeles. investigators are still seeking answers to figure out how it happened. joining us is jane velez-mitchell. it's one of those stories that reminds you of michael can jackson, anna nicole smith. they all have a thread, drug abuse. i know that's difficult for the family as they go into the funeral. >> they are very concerned about the tone and that's why i think they don't want this big
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motorcade from the funeral home to the church. there's going to be this private viewing today at the funeral home and then at some point, we don't know when, the body will be quietly moved to the church so there isn't a parade atmosphere. they want everything respectful. now, once the funeral service begins with all of the big names, that is going to be a celebration of her life. that is going to be a joyful ceremony. but the family is very concerned that the controversy for tomorrow be put aside and this is a celebration of her achievements and of whitney's place in history. >> they had to put this thing together so incredibly quickly. this is a grand scale event that would take years to plan and i was looking at this guess list, roberta flack, kevin costner, brandi, bobby brown and i heard susan candiotti reporting that oprah has been invited.
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>> i call it the ever-changing guest list. it's going to be a who's who of the entertainment world. 1500 people and all of those people will be, for the most part, recognizable faces. this is again, all to honor her life. there's been so many questions about why she died and what she took at the time of her death but let's not forget, she's a great artist. she will go down in history with judy garland and frank sinatra. so there is a time -- we don't want to gloss over the important questions that are important for everyone in america to know. we have a prescription drug crisis going on in the country and this has to be a wake-up call, this is a teachable moment but we also don't want to be disrespectful. we want to honor her life and her many, many incredible achievements. >> you know, there are thousands of cases that the lab has to deal with on a regular basis.
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toxicology reports are processed at pace. six to eight weeks to get the toxicology reports back, that's quick. they are putting a rush on this. is it because it's a teachable moment, because they might be able to get a beneficial moment out of it? >> yeah. there is a lesson here and there's so much speculation. we don't know. we can't extrapolate. we do not know what was in her system at the time of her death. we know from sources that she was taking a pill for anxiety. >> xanax? >> yes, that's what i meant to say. xanax. we know that she was drinking. she was drinking wednesday morning and thursday morning. she went to a party thursday night where she was drinking alcohol. that was confirmed by the people around her. now, remember, she had been to rehab three times. most recently, less than a year ago. i've talked to people who have
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mixed xanax with alcohol. it's an extremely dangerous combination. you are playing with fire because it really maximizes and supercharges the high and in combination which it is used recreationally. that's why it has street names. >> i'm glad you brought this up. dr. drew has been on a mission on the anderson cooper show saying, people, you don't get it. this is where we are at these days. were there rock stars that were literally pickled for two to three decades but they didn't die. now we're into prescription drugs and you die. it's simple. you can die from a few glasses of wine and pills. don't people get this? >> it can be a bad reaction. sometimes if you add on a cold. there have been other stars recently that have had low levels of prescriptions in them and then they die of a cold or pneumonia and over-the-counter
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substances that they added a on. so it doesn't have to be your classic overdose. we have to remember that prescription pills are even more dangerous because people feel very entitled to use them. >> they are legal. >> they are legal. frankly, i believe the doctor that prescribed xanax to whitney houston who was a known addict, everybody knew it, that is the height of irresponsibility. >> the anna nicole smith case. >> it has to be a wake-up call. more people are dying from legal prescription drugs than they are from legal drugs. >> you are the first person that i've turned to about addition issues. >> ashleigh, thank you. appreciate it.
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flags are flying at half staff in arizona. that's to honor the passing of whitney houston. it's governor chris christie saying that's what she would have deserved. the governor says that the state flag has always flown at half staff when a new jersey soldier has passed. a decision could be made about same-sex marriage in new jersey. they have legalized it, that happened this week, but the governor has said that when it gets to his desk he plans to veto it. up next, i'll speak with the man who sponsored that bill. the showdown that lies ahead. ♪ na, na...
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...we inspected his brakes for free. free is good. free is very good. my money. my choice. my meineke. the right for same-sex couples to marry in new jersey will likely be short-lived, if it is to be at all. governor chris christie has promised to veto the bill and could do it as early as today. he wants a referendum saying that voters should have the final word but supporters say a referendum should not be used to decide what they say are civil rights issues. a narrow majority favors legalizes gay marriage in new jersey. with this law set to take effect in june, the others are vermont,
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iowa, massachusetts, new hampshire, and new york. it's being debated in maryland and also being debated in illinois. getting back to the battle in new jersey, at times the issue has been pretty heated. the governor has used colorful language to describe our next guest. also joining us by television is jerry cardinelli. if chris christie follows through with the veto, what is the next step? perhaps you could jump in on this, reed, and tell me where it goes from here. >> i think it's been a long-road project. in the very least it advances the ball. we'd like the governor to step up and encourage even moderate and at the end of the day, while it may play out in the red states, the final of majority people in new jersey -- >> he's been pretty clear.
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the veto and then the next step is up to you. i am lousy with civics. you have two years in order to serve much or two-thirds of the vote within the asemsembly to t to overturn what he did. >> sure. and we're three votes away in the senate and a few more in the assembly. there are now seven states that allow full marriage equality and new jersey should be an eighth state. >> why wait? why not go ahead with what the governor is saying and put it to a referendum? that's what they did in california. prop 8. why wait? >> well, the u.s. court of appeals say that a civil rights issue is not appropriate to be put on the ballot. the majority should. >> this is why you're elected and you know your civics but why
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should this be a vote? do you not see this as a civil rights issue, sir? >> no, it's not a civil rights issue at all. it's an issue with respect to the nature of the human condition. but it's marriage has been a relationship, between people of different genders. and the earth be down. >> there were a lot of people 1950 and new jersey who voted that women couldn't vote.
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i see that this is a civil rights issue. >> as an historical right in new jersey, women hadded it right to vote very early on. according to the historians, women were not interested in the right to vote and when they became interested in the right to vote, there was nothing in human nature that dictates whether one person should or should not vote. now, i don't believe that our society wants same-sex marriage. i do not believe that. >> sir, are you suggesting -- i'm not suggesting that polls are always accurate but it
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suggests that there's a narrow majority. oi often wonder, do do you think that in perhaps 10, 15, 20, 30 years you may regret what you're saying to me? >> no. >> i think what he will regret is speeches that fathers will marry their sons and dogs will be able to marry. it's been 24 hours and none of that has happened nor has the sky fallen on new jersey. >> let me ask you this, reed. this is such a candid topic for many people.
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they say, look, don't force this on all of us. it's been this way forever. why turn these tables? why force people who are uncomfortable with it to have it as part of their code. >> he will work the fact remains that marriage has evolved. we no longer consider women property. the institution of marriage has evolved. there are same-sex couples that raise families and pay taxes in our state. it's just a way to make it better. >> he'll be following what happens in your great state of new jersey. thanks to both of you. and still to come, a story that is becoming all too familiar. heavy, heavy shelling. blood in the streets of syria and two reporters are on the ground looking at it firsthand
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and are defying the evidence that the president talks about in that country. we'll get to that in a moment. [ kate ] most women may not be properly absorbing the calcium they take because they don't take it with food. switch to citracal maximum plus d. it's the only calcium supplement that can be taken with or without food. that's why my doctor recommends citracal maximum.
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the violence is filling the streets in syria by government forces. have a look. the syrian president's troops bombarded the city of homs for the 14th straight day, two straight weeks. major protests were reported in two other cities, including damascus. opposition leaders say 56 people were killed and pulitzer prize journalists have died while covering reports there. anthony shadid suffered an asthma attack. his body was carried over the border into nearby turkey. he was just 43 years old.
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the syrian government shows no signs of backing off. people continue to fill the streets day after day, week after week any way. ivan watson reports from a town in northern syria. >> reporter: this is a ritual that is performed week after week for months in this opposition-controlled town. this is one of the opposition activists. why do you do this every friday? >> every friday i do this to send a message. every day in homs in syria, sole
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please -- ♪ >> reporter: the weekly protest ritual begins with friday prayers in the nearby mosque and amid friday there was a special funeral prayer for one young man from this town who we are told died of a sniper bullet in the nearby city. and then the crowd emerged chanting god is great. it's important to note that the syrian army is just a five-minute drive from here and activists say that they have brought in additional tanks to that base within the last 24 hours. they welcome the assembly's
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decision to condemn the crackdown on its own citizens. but they added a that that will do little to protect them should the syrian military decide to attack this opposition-held town within the days and weeks to come. >> i want to remind you, that's ivan watson reporting inside syria. he and his colleague arwa damon are there under immense threats to their personal security. the latest violence comes a day after the united nations approved a nonbinding resolution endorsing for syria's president so step down. it's not clear what effect this may have on the crisis in syria. still ahead today, getting accepted into college may be the
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easier part these days. paying for it, not so much. one california student has come up with a pretty bright idea. how about pay the tuition once you land a job? that college kid is going to come up with me next. i look at her, and i just want to give her everything. yeah, you -- you know, everything can cost upwards of...[ whistles ] i did not want to think about that. relax, relax, relax. look at me, look at me. three words, dad -- e-trade financial consultants. so i can just go talk to 'em?
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one of the biggest questions that students ask themselves when applying for college is how am i going to pay for all of this? especially at the university of california where the price tag gets higher and higher every year. so a junior at uc riverside has come up with a clever plan. what if students were allowed to go to college for free, no money upfront, but pay for it once they get a job, graduate, and start working. how does the plan work and is it practical and could it actually work long term? chris put this plan together. he joins us now from riverside,
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california. on the right side of your screen is a professor of education at nyu in new york. nuts and bolts for this 101? >> i will give you a basic overview of the plan. we would essentially get rid of the current tuition model where students pay an upfront lump sum for their education. instead, every student would attend with no upfront costs, not having to put the burden on their families or themselves with interest-accruing loans but instead through a 5% or roughly 5% contribution that they would be paying once they enter a career after they graduate. >> so let's just guess for a moment -- and this might be a bit gracious. but let's just say you graduate and get $100,000 on the first year out. that would mean you would pay $5,000 that year back to the college and you would do that for 20 years.
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essentially, you would pay the college about $100,000 over 20 years, right? >> that's right. it sounds like a lot especially right now when the cost to attend university of california is around $50,000 for four years. but the way things are going in the state of california, ten years from now we don't know how much it's going to cost to attend uc. we roughly estimate it will be near where private schools are right now, which is about $160,000 a year. $160,000 for four years. is that's still quite a bargain when you think about it. it sounded really smart and there were other countries that use plans like this to plan the education. it's 9% in australia, not 5%. >> for 20 years?
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>> well, it's about that. and so i would say it should not be dismissed out of hand. the problem is this. the university of california is not getting enough money from the state to cover the costs of an education there. so in the short term this does not solve the problem of how do we pay for world class education at a public university. >> because you would have to wait for this plan for four years before you get your first graduate starting to pay out. >> that's right. i think what we need to look at is what the percentage should be, could be, how you pay over time and it's usually worthy of a conversation. we have a major problem throughout the country. we have people paying 25, 30% of the income right now on college loans. so we'd actually pay more than that now. it's a burden that many of people can't afford. >> what about the problem of baby boomers. all of a sudden you don't have
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an equal set of generations. have you factored that in or is it a blood pressure where you think, oops? >> we worked on this for nine months, now ten months. we made sure that we covered all of the bases. in response to earlier, the way that it's phased in is completely worked out. uc has the money that it would need to institute this program. it's through the financial aid money that uc already has. which accounts for a third of the tuition students that they pay for. that would be paid in the program. that would take roughly ten years to actually implement the program. with four years for the first-class to go through and toll have every uc student. so we completely worked that out. >> i have one more glitch that i can foresee and that's because i was once a college kid and knew that some of my fellow college kids were naughty and used to teach so i wonder, is there a concern that if you implement
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this plan, they can't track these students. they've got free college for four years and headed off to france. >> we have that problem now. so i do think you can device systems, you can track the students and find ways to hold on to them. so i think we have a much bigger problem. the university of california is in crisis. and we're seeing this system fall apart and we need to figure out how to support it. >> well, there's no system that's going to be perfect but sounds like a great idea. thank you for coming in. fascinating. go figure. have you heard about these controversial comments made? a major backer of former senator rick santorum went on tv and cracked a joke. now, he may have been trying to make a joke but it was about
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couldn contraception. it's all "fair game," up next. ♪ there's another way to minimize litter box odor: purina tidy cats. tidy cats premium line of litters now works harder to help neutralize odors in multiple-cat homes. and our improved formula also helps eliminate dust.
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we've got breaking news just in to cnn. it involves a sting in washington. my colleague, indicate bolduan joins me now. what is happening? >> reporter: there is really wild information coming in. let a federal law enforcement reports that a moroccan man a short time ago arrested. it was shortly after 12:30 here on the east coast. according to this source, this man was on an attempted suicide operation with the target being the capitol. now, also according to this source, the person had been part of an undercover operation. this person had been watched for
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some time and they are stressing that the public was never in any danger and here's why. the man, apparently according to this source, thought he was heading towards the capitol with a suicide vest. but the materials had been rendered inoperable as it was put to carol. and according to a press release, that was just put out moments ago. the arrest was a culmination of a lengthy and extensive operation in which the individual was monitored closely. this operation had gone back to at least december this person was being closely watched and the source stresses that the public was never in danger. very scary details coming out. and the producer was also told that the person was acting alone was not connected and has not been connected to any terrorist
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organization. we're reaching out to all of our sources up here on capitol hill but from the early kind of survey that we've taken, it seems that aides as well as members of congress were really unaware that this was going on. i ran into a senior democratic senator on my way over here and he says he was just now starting to learn of some of the details coming in and my colleague is also hearing the same. it seems that while this very fascinating and astounding details of this arrest are just now coming to light, possibly happening just steps away from capitol hill, it certainly has not stopped operations within the capitol. >> it's a remarkable story to show him wearing this vest that was deemed inoperable. >> he thought it was a real deal. >> yeah. and all of this happening one day after the life sentence handed down from the underwear terrorist. so keep an eye on that for us.
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>> reporter: of course. this is all "fair game" and guess what, it's coming up next. oh will you grab us some yoplait? sure. what flavor? mm, one of each. lemon burst, hm, cherry orchard, blackberry harvest... my daughter's grabbing some yoplait. pina colada, orange creme. i can't imagine where she is... strawberry cheesecake. [ grocery store pa ] clean up in aisle eight. found her! [ female announcer ] yoplait original. 25 flavors for you to love. it is so good.
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all right. we are always checking on the campaign trail and today we're finding a candidate is comparing the republican race for the white house to a roller coaster. once again, i think you know who i'm talking about. the republican campaign is always fair game. maria cardona is in washington to talk politics and anna
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navarro is in miami to do the same. ladies, i love a newt gingrich sound bite that reflects the leaderboard. listen. >> this resembles riding space mountain at disney. i've been the front-runner twice. i suspect i'll be the front-runner again in a few weeks. >> insert space punt. maria, go. >> look, this has certainly been what i like to call the contest when it comes to politics because the only constant in this has been the changing of the front-runner consistently throughout and i think what it underscores ashleigh is that the majority of republican voters are not happy with the
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republican candidates. they have said privately and publicly, and i don't know if my friend ana will agree with this, they don't have their a team out there. they have their b team and some have called it the c team. the enthusiasm gap is growing for republicans and that's going to be a big problem for them. >> the whack a mole has -- do you know something? >> listen, to that end, something may whack that mole right up to the top again. newt gingrich may have another shot because sheldon adelson said he's going to throw more money at him. it's been proven that the ads work. >> for most everybody and $30 million for sheldon adelson is almost play money. it's monopoly money. it's not a big deal for him.
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he can continue doing this and i do think that newt gingrich's metaphor of space mountain was terrific. we've had twists, turns, it's been scary at times, it's been entertaining. it's beginning to feel like the roller coaster from hell, that it's dysfunctional and we can't find the off switch. it's entertaining and a good thing that it happened. >> i think we have short memories and it happens in every primary republican and democratic alike. in the end we love our democracy because we get to hear it all and it's all trans parent. let me switch gears guys. this played out on msnbc. foster freiss is one of the major donors of rick santorum. i watched a very long interview here on cnn with erin burnett. he really does seem like an adorable man but he did put out
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this perhaps inappropriate joke with regard to contraception. i want to play it and have you guys react on the other side. >> this contraceptive thing, my gosh, it's so inexpensive. back in my days, the gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly. >> well, i can tell you i tried holding an advil between my knees and it's a very hard thing to do. >> look, if he was being serious, it's crazy. if he was making a joke, he's got to accept he ain't that funny. >> you know, he was making a joke and he apologized. he said, i understand how i offended people and didn't mean to do it. and rick santorum also responded. let me read it for you. i understand i confused people with the way i worded the joke and their taken offense is very
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understandable. i do apologize and seek forgiveness. like i said, i like this guy. he is sort of the other generation but perhaps it can be attributed to that. but rick santorum had it put to him. look, he's your backer. don't you have to accommodate for that? and here's his response this morning on cbs. have a listen, you guys. >> when you call a supporter of mine and he tells a bad off-color joke and somehow i'm responsible for that, come on. >> we didn't say you are responsible but how would you characterize it and what did you say to him? not that you were responsible but how you differ from what this person said. >> i can't respond to every supporter said. look, this is what you guys do. >> maria cardona, you know what, it's coming your way, my friend. they are thick in the election campaign. president obama is going to have supporters that say stupid
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things, too. >> and they already have. rick understands this. he needs to put on his big boy pants and understand that this is what politics is about. the problem with the republican party is that he had nowhere to pivot because this was a comment that underscores a hardening perception of a party who is hostile to women's issues. this comes on the heels of a hearing that the senate had yesterday on contraception issues. it comes on the heels of santorum's own comments that women shouldn't be in combat. this seals a perception that's dangerous for the republican party when they talk about -- >> you know what, anna, i want you to respond to that -- >> i'm pretty sure mr. friese understood there was that house panel going on. this is just a very wealthy guy who tried to make a joke on tv and it backfired on him. and i think rick santorum shouldn't be that defensive. if it was -- >> how about this -- >> -- treated as such, a bad
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joke. >> i have 15 seconds left. but in 2006 rick santorum did say this, i have voted for contraception although i don't think it works. it's harmful to women. it's harmful to our society. >> he's entitled to his views, his very strong, religious, moral views but at the same time it doesn't seem to be an issue with how he's voted. it's the law of the land. he voted for it. >> all right. listen, that's where i have to live it -- i knew you were going to do that to me. thanks to you both. it's good to play "fair game" with you. appreciate it. just days before the arizona primary election, gop contenders debate the issues again. be sure to watch the arizona republican presidential debate on cnn. that's right here next wednesday 8:00 eastern time. some pretty big news in the medical world today. doctors could be soon able to detect autism in children as
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major medical news to tell you about today. a new brain imaging study shows signs autism can be defected in babies as young as 6 months old. researchers screened kids with an mri at 6 months, a year and 2 years old and their findings are a pretty big deal because they could lead to early intervening strategies. brain connectivity plays a central role in autism. a former romney supporter now pulling for rick santorum instead. let's check in with cnn's peter hanby, live on the story. this is all about ohio and ohio is a big deal, isn't it? >> yeah, really it. the march 6th primary on super tuesday is going to be big. not just because of delegates state but ohio is bellwether and bellwether for republicans. rick santorum will announce a
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big announcement from mike dewine. keep in mind, dewine was a romney supporter who's flipping his support to rick santorum. this undercuts the romney inevitability -- >> why is he doing that? >> we don't know yet. the announcement is later this afternoon at 3 p.m. there's a news conference in columbus scheduled where presumably he'll talk about that. but, you know, dewine is a -- is probably not a huge deal but in the state, this is going to get rick santorum in every newspaper around the state. a statewide official, dewine name, known for a long time in ohio. this is very good for rick santorum. romney's response will be this is santorum's colleague from back in the day, two washington insiders bandied together. we can expect to hear that from the romney campaign for certain. but good news for rick santorum in ohio actually. >> i hear you when the endorsement question comes up. it's always exciting to get one and then you hear the tim
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pawlenty, minnesota, endorsement didn't go so well for romney. romney, not that great of day because the dnc is coming after him with an ad that takes aim at him from the olympics. >> they're taking aim as romney tries to position himself as a washington outsider attacking earmarks and bailouts. they're taking him at his tenure at the olympics in salt lake city saying he took a $1.3 billion federal bailout from government to fund olympic games. look at the web video the dnc put out. >> peter hamby, keep your eye on that. that it for me. thank you so much for watching today, it's friday. have a great weekend. "cnn news room" continues. [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus liquid gels fights your worst cold symptoms, plus it relieves your stuffy nose.
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[ deep breath ] thank you! that's the cold truth! until the end of the quarter to think about your money... ♪ that right now, you want to know where you are, and where you'd like to be. we know you'd like to see the same information your advisor does so you can get a deeper understanding of what's going on with your portfolio. we know all this because we asked you, and what we heard helped us create pnc wealth insight, a smarter way to work with your pnc advisor, so you can make better decisions and live achievement.
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hello, i'm in for brooke baldwin this friday. let's take you straight before we get to the rest of the program to washington, d.c. brian todd is on the phone. i understand, brian, that a man has been arrested in washington on his way to the u.s. capitol with plans to attack it. can you give us more details on this developing story, brian, please? >> reporter: yes, we can. we're told that a suspect has, in fact, been arrested in connection with a terrorism investigation. this was an apparent attempt to
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attack the capitol, we're told, by law enforcement sort. this person tells us the person was arrested essentially on his way to the capitol. the arrest, according to the justice department, was the culmination of an undercover operation during which the suspect was closely monitored by law enforcement. now, what we're told by the justice department is that explosives, the suspect allegedly sought to use in connection with this plot, had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement and there was no threat to the public. according to one federal law enforcement official we spoke to, as soon as the suspect accepted what he thought was going to be a suicide bomb vest from an undercover officer, he was arrested. so, that is what we know at this time. right now we are at the scene of what we believe was some kind of activity regarding this arrest. this was -- in an alleyway next to a restaurant at the foot of the capitol where there's been a lot of activity with fbi agents in flack jackets coming in and
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out of a parking garage. we're trying to figure out if this was where the suspect was picked up or not. yeah, a lot of activity around where we are and a significant arrest today in this alleged plot to attack the capitol. >> well, do we know anything more about the suspect, brian? >> reporter: there are reports that he is a moroccan national. we have not -- at least i have not confirmed that on my end yet but we're working that information, but, no, we know very little about the suspect at this time. this literally just happened within the last couple of hours, we're told. but we're working that information now. >> brian todd in washington, d.c., thank you with the latest on this developing story of an alleged bomb plot to attack the u.s. capitol. and a suspect we believe apprehended in the nation's capitol in the last several hours. we will continue to follow that story and get back to brian once more details emerge. now let's catch you up on everything else making news this hour.
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let's start with "rapid fire." >> the syrian city of homs being bombed again for the 14th straight day. dramatic video online. the explosion you saw is said to have hit a civilian city. as attacks continue, angry syrians filled the streets of major cities by the thousands today. arwa damon is in one of the neighborhoods hit hardest by the bombing and she's describing how some families are trying to escape their own homes. >> reporter: these types of holes were dug into various walls inside the neighborhoods, we're told, by the free syrian army. and this was how they were getting families out because there was so much firing from the front end. they weren't able to evacuate that way. they were forced to come out like this to get to relative safety. flags are flaying at half-staff in new jersey today honoring singer whitney houston.
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fans have been leaving candles and photos and balloons outside of houston's childhood church where her funeral will be held tomorrow, saturday. as the investigation into her death focuses on doctors and pharmacies who provided the singer with prescription drugs. also among the stories we're following, a barge collision and oil spill near new orleans shut down a five-mile stretch of the mississippi river this morning. no injuries have been reported. oil is no longer spilling out of the barge but officials aren't saying how much escaped into the river. booms have been placed around the area to stop the oil from spreading. angels and demons figure into a high-profile murder trial in georgia. newman claims insanity in the shooting of rusty snyderman outside a day care in atlanta. they say he was delusional guided by a demon that looked like barry white and angel that looked like olivia newton-john.
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a dispute between two u.s. immigration agents erupts into gunfire last night. officials say one agent who had been threatened with disciplinary action pulled his gun and wounded his supervisor several times. a third agent shot and killed the gunman. >> at this time we belief this was an isolated incident and we believe the shooter was acting alo alone. >> the wounded agent is reported in stable condition at a long beach hospital following surgery. johnson and johnson is recalling 574,000 of grape flavored infant tylenol. they were distributed throughout the country so check in your medicine cabinet. the recall was issued after parents complained about problems using the device that helps measure dosage. there are no reports of children, though, being harmed. both houses of congress passed legislation today extending the payroll tax cut.
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president obama has promised to sign it as soon as it gets to his desk. the extension impacts 160 million americans who already pay a smaller amount towards social security. for example, a person making $50,000 a year will continue to bring home an extra $83 every month. is tonight the night the streak ends? you can insert your own pun, the linning streak, linsanity but jeremy lin has taken new york and the rest of the country by storm and he and the new york knicks go for their eighth straight win and the hoopla grows bigger with every victory. we'll hear the president taut made in america at a huge boeing plant in washington state. as we wait for that to get going, did you know that, well, apparently machinists are in demand. we'll talk about what's needed
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to get america going again. also, very sad news for our profession and journalism in general. a pulitzer prize winning journalist shadid who dodged bullets has died in syria. i'll talk with a cnn colleague who was one of the last to speak with shadid. -- from accounting. peter. i can see that you're busy... but you were gonna help us crunch the numbers for accounts receivable today. i mean i know that this is important. well, both are important. let's be clear. they are but this is important too. [ man ] the receivables. [ male announcer ] michelin knows it's better for xerox to help manage their finance processing. so they can focus on keeping the world moving. with xerox, you're ready for real business.
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[ roger ] same agent and everything. [ kyle ] it's like we're connected. no we're not. yeah, we are. no...we're not. ♪ the allstate value plan. dollar for dollar, nobody protects you like allstate. [ male announcer ] engine light on? come to meineke now for a free code scan read and you'll money. my choice. my meineke. we're going to show you an image that occurs precisely what's occurring in parts of syria. this is smoke from government shelling rising above the city of homs. but on the ground in homs, hundreds of people have gathered in opposition to the regime of
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bashar al assad. that is the theme of the day across syria. protests. we should also tell you that 56 people have reportedly died today, including this man reportedly killed by a bullet. what was otherwise described at a peaceful protest in da muss cuss. cnn's ivan watson has entered syria in the northern part of the country in a town precariously close to a syrian army base. ivan visited a section of the town controlled by the opposition. tell us about what you saw today, ivan. >> reporter: the uprising here has been going on for 11 months. more than 6,000 people have been killed in the government crackdown here. but today neither a torrential freezing rain, neither the threat of tanks parked just a mile and a half away could stop hundreds of people from turning out in what has become a weekly ritual of defiance.
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a freezing winter rain hasn't stopped hundreds of people from gathering here in the town square for a weekly show of defiance against the regime of syrian president bashar al assad. this is a ritual that's been performed week after week for months in opposition-controlled town. this is one of the opposition activists. why do you do this every friday? >> we do this, in this town, to send message. bashar al assad army shelling the building every day in homs, all area in syria. just send message by cnn channel. please, please help us. please, stop killing. please, talk with russia. stop killing us. >> reporter: the syrian army has a base just five minutes' drive
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from here. activists tell us they have brought in additional tanks to that base within just the last 24 hours. some of the people here welcome the united nations general assembly's decision to condemn the syrian government crackdown on its own citizens. >> we need real action from united nations. they are just treaties. >> reporter: but they add that will do little to protect them should the syrian military decide to attack this opposition-held town within the days and weeks to come. ivan watson, cnn, banish, northern syria. >> thanks very much. there's more distressing news today connected the to the story in syria. anthony shadid was a friend to many of us died overnight trying to cross from syria into turkey. his employer, "the new york times," says the cause of shadid's death is not precisely clear but there is strong
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indications that the 43-year-old reporter may have suffered an asthma attack brought on by exposure to the horses being ridden by his guides. it's one of the ways, in some cases the only way to get into syria when you sneak in. again, we'll hear from cnn's ivan watson in a little bit on what happened, to speak in shadid with the hours before his death. >> ivan, what can you tell us about the last time that you saw and worked together with anthony shadid? >> reporter: well, we -- jim, we saw him thursday night with his colleague, tyler hicks. they've been operating here out of northern syria. i surprised them in the little hut they were staying in and gave them both a hug. they were very excited to get out to turkey to start sending stories. they were being very careful, jim, to maintain a very low profile here. very conscience of the risks
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here. and not wanting to gamble with their security. they preferred to save their material and file it once they were outside of the combat zone rather than draw attention to themselves. anthony was a very careful journalist. >> a very careful journalist. did you know that he had asthma problems? i understand he did bring the medications with him. >> reporter: i don't know about the medications, but one of the first things he told me on thursday night was that when he came into the country, and it's very arduous trip, he had an allergic reaction to the horses that the guides were using. and he was overcome by it and he collapsed on a hillside in the dark, in no man's land between the two countries. and could not walk any further. and they were lost there and contemplated going back into turkey.
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so, the news that he had succumbed to asthma came as a real shock, of course, but that apparently was reaction to the same animals and the same allergy. it's just terrible. >> that's a cruel irony in a way. someone who survived war zones, survived being shot, who survived kidnapping in libya succumb to an apparent asthma attack. a true loss, irreplaceable journalist and we'll talk more about anthony shadid and his stellar career in journalism. i'll speak with his father in the next hour of "newsroom." we have follow-up about some injured syrians we told you about yesterday. arwa damon showed us conditions in a make-shift hospital. doctors told us they were overwhelmed and ill-equipped to take care of the injured and dying. these are not hospitals, they're in homes. most seriously wounded patients often die within a few hours.
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two of those men are now safe. arwa's tweet says, great news, abad who traced tank with finger and the man with the rotting leg smuggled to a lebanon hospital. one of the man, at the beginning of her piece, died. best of luck to the two others in their treatment. when we come back, two barges run into each other on a busy river overnight. we're getting new information about how much oil spilled and what caused the collision as well. an accident doesn't have to slow you down... with better car replacement, available only from liberty mutual insurance, if your car is totaled, we give you the money to buy a car that's one model-year newer... with 15,000 fewer miles on it.
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in just a few minutes, president obama will be speaking right there at a boeing assembly plant in washington state. his message, boosting the demand
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for american exports around the world. we'll bring you that event live as it happens. talk about the manufacturing industry in the united states. in louisiana now, a barge collision, an oil spill closed a five-mile stretch of the mississippi river this morning. boons have been placed in the water around the crash site to keep the oil from spreading. now, the crash happened about 50 miles upriver of new orleans. no one was injured. so far, there is no estimate on how much oil actually spilled. >> two tugs collided. we responded. came back, retrieved the coast guard personnel, brought them on scene. their surveying the barges, making sure nothing is leaking and we're doing a sonar test of the barges. that's about where we stand. >> the area where it happened is a busy section of the river. let's bring in chad myers. where is it located exactly where this collision occurred? >> upriver of new orleans. you would think that would be
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north of new orleans. but at that point in time the river goes west to east so it's 50 miles west of new orleans the way the river meanders. this was a big collision. a double-hulled, which means one on hull on the inside, one hull on the outside, skeep keeping the oil secure inside and it pierced the double hull with a 10 foot by 5 foot gash. 150,000 gallons of oil on board but the gash was above the water line so not that much oil clearly came out. the deal is now this oil is in the river. and people get their drinking water out of the river. there are fish, wildlife, plants, waterfowl in the river and now we have this oil in the river. here's new orleans, and meandering mississippi river. i was showing you how it goes more west to east at this point in time. there's reserve and a big bend in the river here. so much barge traffic in this bend. you can see some barges are parked out there or just
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anchored out there. what happened here, we have a crane barge with a crane on it to do some operations and then this oil barge. basically like an oil tanker but it doesn't have its own engine. both being pushed by tugboats. one going upriver, one downriver appear president 2:00 in the morning last night, they collided. and the collision had to be significant to go into both hulls of this oil tanker -- of this oil barge with oil coming out. they did get right on it. they closed down the water intakes -- actually, some water intakes for lower parishes down here so no water would mix with oil that's in the drinking water. no -- theoretically, no problem for humans, but you know what, can these people just not get a break? it's one thing after another from a big flood to the -- it's just -- it's been very, very, very difficult couple of years. >> but it's contained now. we don't know how much oil spilled? >> we don't know. i've heard a couple numbers thrown around, about 3,000
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gallons. that's obviously only tenths of a percent of what could have come out. >> thanks. help wanted, skilled machinists are in demand but is there enough training for the job? also ahead, we'll brick you the president's remarks live. he's pushing made in america at a boeing plant in washington state. we'll be back. allow natural gas producers to supply affordable, cleaner energy, while protecting our environment. across america, these technologies protect air - by monitoring air quality and reducing emissions... ...protect water - through conservation and self-contained recycling systems... ... and protect land - by reducing our footprint and respecting wildlife. america's natural gas... domestic, abundant, clean energy to power our lives... that's smarter power today. ♪ ♪ ♪
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and your home was built before 1978, you could be at risk. learn how to protect your family. to find your home's danger zones, the health effects, or just to find help, log on to america is selling, now it's time to find more buyers. that's the message we'll hear in a few minutes from president obama. he's visiting a boeing assembly plant in washington state to announce new steps to make it easier for american companies to export their products to other countries. we'll take that speech live. but first, let's bring in dan lothian, covering the president's event at boeing, and poppy harlow who spoke with another big u.s. manufacturer that just announced a major new product. first to dan. what are these steps that the president is going to outline today, dan? >> reporter: well, one of them
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is administration working with export/import bank to provide financing for companies that will allow them to compete with countries like china. in fact, boeing just recently completed a major deal with the airline line of indonesia where they credit the import/export bank with helping to get that deal done. in addition to that, the administration is laying out steps to help smaller businesses that are a part of the exporting venue by providing short-term credit for these companies. additionally, the administration is starting a website where it will be, as they've described it, a one-stop shopping effort where businesses can get information for hiring or export information as well. this is all part of the president's push to expand in the manufacturing field. earlier in the week the president was in wisconsin where
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he was touting a small company there that had brought jobs back from china. here the president is at boeing because boeing is one of the major u.s. exporters. more than $34 billion in value last year. i'm standing behind one of the -- the newest ventures from boeing, a 787 dreamliner. so far they've had more than 870 orders. so, again, the president touting manufacturing as part of the overall strategy to create jobs here in the u.s. >> and i believe we see president obama there walking up to where he's expected to deliver this speech on u.s. manufacturing. we'll go to it live when it starts. i think we have just about a few seconds to talk with poppy harlow. you spoke with another big american manufacturer, the ceo of caterpillar. what is caterpillar's position on u.s. manufacturing? what needs to be done to make sure that it gets some sort of boost. >> reporter: re good news.
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they are creating a number of jobs in this country. the news just coming out today. 1400 jobs are coming to right now where you are, athens, georgia. they're going to build a $200 million plant there. the ceo said it's about demand increasing in the united states. that's a good story. it's also about exports. exporting out of the port of savannah down to hot markets like brazil, et cetera. what's very interesting about this announcement is that they are bringing back jobs, all those jobs, they're taking them out of japan and bringing them back here to the united states. that is critical. that is something i guarantee -- or pretty sure you'll hear from president obama in his remarks, the importance of manufacturing in this country. he's at boeing. a huge company just like caterpillar is. i want you to take a listen to the ceo of boeing and why he says -- ceo, rather, of caterpillar and why he says they decided to build that plant in georgia. it's about exports and also, listen carefully, it's also about politics. >> well, we avoid the freight,
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obviously, from japan to united states and south america because most of the market is here. and we use the port of savannah and others down here to export both to europe and south america. a lot of that was involved. beyond that, you know, we looked at georgia in a climate that's very friendly to expansion. and georgia -- i would give the state of georgia a lot of credit for competitive package to make us feel at home and take care of our people going forward. it's about 4,000 jobs when we're all done with this in 2015-16. >> and the way they get to 4,000 jobs is 1400 direct jobs and then they argue about 2,800 jobs supported by that plant. so, restaurants, hotels, automakers, et cetera, and also supplier jobs. what's critical in what he said is georgia is friendly to expansion. that is code for an attractive tax policy within the state, et cetera. that's what you hear a lot of republican candidates pushing for more of, is that we need more of that to create jobs in
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this country. get those plants built. i will tell you, it's been amazing to see how many of these big manufacturing plants are going to the south in these right to work nonunion states. >> stand by. we're going to speak with someone who is very much aware of the situation of american manufacturing in this country. if the president's plan works it would mean more jobs at u.s. manufacturing. manufacturing is making things. it's not services, it's not consumer spending which accounts for most growth in this country. the question there is, what manufacturing sector should this country's focus on and how do you train americans so that they become skilled to fill these positions that will add value to the u.s. economy and help this economy rebound? scott paul is the executive director at the alliance american manufacturing, a group that represents a number of u.s. companies. now, what are you in your position hoping to hear from the president today in washington?
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>> well, i do hope the president talks about the ways in which our companies can be more competitive. i think boosting exports and having export financing is a key component of that. if you look at his blueprint for manufacturing, it's comprehensive. it deals with vocational training. it deals with actually import competition from china and leveling the playing field. it talks about innovation. it also talks about tax policy, which is obviously very important to american companies and having incentives in our tax code to invest in the united states as opposed to outsourcing their jobs. i'm hoping i hear more of that message. we certainly heard some of it in wisconsin a couple days ago. but it's a popular message. even more important than that, it's vital to our economic future to grow these jobs. >> so, which sector, though, do you focus on? if you're talking about government tax breaks, essentially the government is peaking here, boeing being a huge exporter for the country and revenue generator, but how
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do you focus on which sector to focus on in this country? >> look, the value added for manufacturing is higher than it is for other sectors of the economy. manufacturing spins off four or five other jobs for every job it creates. it provides 90% of patents, two-thirds of research and development. if you locate a ford, caterpillar, boeing plant in your community, it also means you're going to get a walmart, vibrant main street, a lot of other activity. that's not true for most other types of economic activity. it's the one type of economic activity that governors, mayors, everyone's fighting for. i'm glad our country is fighting for it because we spent the last decade or so seeing these jobs leave and with haven't done much about it. >> again, which sector do you chose? lower added value sectors? making, i don't know, next tiles, that sort of thing or do you spend money with government programs -- i'm just throwing ideas or possibilities out there -- on, for instance, skilled technology-based jobs that add a lot of value
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throughout the production chain? >> that's a very good question. i think it's important to point out that the jobs we have left in manufacturing here in this country are also highly skilled. we shed one-third of our manufacturing jobs over the last decade. and if you walk into every steel mill or nearly any factory today, it is high-tech. lots of lasers, lots of computers. and i think one of the things that we need to understand is that 94% of all u.s. manufacturing is globally cost competitive. it makes sense to invest in advanced manufacturing. that means most manufacturing today. yes, we won't create manufacturing, how it was in the 1950s and 1960s. we don't want to do that. but there's a lot of manufacturing we can do. everything from steel to aerospace and a lot in between. >> thanks very much, scott paul of the alliance for american manufacturing. joining us live on cnn. we're going to be back in just a few minutes. we'll take the president's remarks live from washington state. if you're intrigued
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all right. we are waiting for president barack obama there to address employees of boeing in everett, washington, at a production facility there. currently, one of the boeing executives is speaking, talking about how boeing is an industry leader and about the dreamliner as well. it suffered several production delays but in the end the dreamliner came out of that
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production line at boeing in washington state. we'll go live there to listen to president obama. but before we do, let's listen to the airplane commercial group head for just a few moments. >> around the world when we go and compete and they've really helped us win. for that we thank you. right now there's tremendous demand for our airplanes. and there's a tremendous demand because the market but moreover, we do build the most capable airplanes in the world. right now our backlog is 4,000 airplanes and current rates, that's about seven years' worth of production. we're going to increase our production by 40% over the next three years. every airplane we sell means jobs, though. you know, here at the boeing company, we've hired 13,000 new employees just in the last year. and our supply chain supports 250,000 jobs in the united states of america.
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you know, i think the reason we win is because we're building tomorrow's airplanes today. that's something the competition can't say. and it's because of american technology, innovation and also determination. and i know this team in front of me knows how hard this airplane was to build. but i think this effort is really worth the wait. this is truly the first new airplane of the 21st century. the dreamliner has changed the way that people will travel and certainly changed the way that airplanes are built. this is really the first departure since the 707 almost 50 years ago. you know, innovation and hard work, and it doesn't guarantee success. it's really about having a skilled work force. we have the best engineers and the best machinists and best mechanics in the world.
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we also need, you know, very good and strong partners in government, business and education to help us compete. and we get that here in the state of washington. i can't think of a more exciting time to be in this business or a better time for america to lead this industry into the second century of flight. i'm now pleased to introduce my boss, boeing's chairman and ceo, jim mcnerney. jim took over this job in 2005 and he has been relentless trying to push for profitable growth. our exports have doubled under his leadership. he's a great leader. that was provides recognized by president obama in 2010. jim was asked to be the chairman of the export council to support the present school of doubling exports within five years. i tell you, you know, jim and
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the company, we're doing everything we can to help double those exports with your support. it's my pleasure to introduce now the leader of the best and the largest aerospace company in the world, and also america's largest exporter, jim mcnerney. >> boeing executives there touting their success with regards to the boeing dreamliner, the 787. in the end, it came out of the production line at boeing. it's designed to be a more fuel-efficient plane. boeing says it wants it to be the future of aviation and continue to have a dominant position in the airline and airplane industry over airbus. we're expecting president obama, of course, to come speak at this production facility in everett, washington, and we'll take that speech live when it happens. a short break on cnn.
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they're cuter in clean clothes. thanks, honey. yeah. you suck at folding. [ laughs ] [ female announcer ] just one dose of tide original liquid helps remove food stains better than an entire 40 load bottle of the leading liquid bargain brand. that's my tide. what's yours? once again we're waiting for president barack obama. he's in everett, washington, at a boeing production facility. he'll be speaking soon. when he does, we'll take that live. in the meantime, let's talk about another big american corporation, general motors, is paying out fat bonuses, even though it hasn't repaid all of its bailout money. the company reported record profits and workers are getting a taste of it. as lisa sylvester reports, the company is still on the hook to taxpayers.
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>> reporter: november 2008 the ceos of the big three auto companies came to washington to ask taxpayers for a multibillion dollar bailout. they flew to the capital on private jets, sparking the ire of some members of congress who accused them of being tone deaf. >> it's like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in high hat and tuxedo. >> reporter: gm eventually received $49.5 billion from the government. chrysler, $12.5 billion. that helped keep the car companies afloat. fast forward to today. gm has announced it has posted a record annual profit, $7.6 billion last year. gm's 47,000 union workers will each get a $7,000 profit-sharing bonus check. but keep in mind, gm hasn't fully paid back the taxpayers. the u.s. government still owns about a quarter of the company with 500 million shares. the national legal policy center is a nonpartisan ethics watch dog group. their directors it's a great
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deal for the united autoworkers union. lousy deal for taxpayers. >> i think these bonuses add insult to injury. the united autoworkers have already received equity in the course of the bailout and structured bankruptcy. and now it's just gravy. it does nothing for taxpayers who are still in the hole on this deal. >> reporter: general motors justifies the bonuses saying they have replaced automatic pay increases. a spokeswoman saying we're trying to align compensation with how the company performs. as the company improves and delivers on its goals, that's reflected in our compensation. the uaw also says workers should get a small cut of the profits. >> we haven't had a pay increase since 2003. there's no pay increases in this contract. no pay increases whatsoever. there was no pension increases. and no pay increases. everything that we will get will be based on profit-sharing.
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>> reporter: but gm is not out of the woods yet. gm's european and south american operations are still losing money and its fourth quarter profits missed wall street's expectations. for taxpayers to recoop the government money from gm, shares of the company would have to double from $26 a share to about $52 a share. and that's not likely to happen any time soon. lisa sylvester, cnn, washington. well, is it fair for gm to pay out bonuses when it still has a huge tab with the american taxpayer? we'll ask someone who knows the motor city inside and out, the auto reporter from the detroit free press next hour. we'll have that and a lot more. i'm a marathon runner,
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let's take you back live to everett, washington, where president barack obama is addressing workers at a boeing plant in everett, washington. let's listen in. >> your heating bills must be crazy. i want to thank jim mcnerney for hosting us here today. give them a big round of applause. your machinist leadership, tom buffinberger, rich mahulski, tom roboleski, and tom mccartier here. one of the finest governors in
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the country, chris is in the house and i want to thank the mayor of everett for having us here today. now, i want to thank all of you for also giving me a pretty smooth ride. as some of you may know, air force one was built here right in everett 25 years ago. in fact, i met one of my guys that i met during the tour worked on the plane. so, i told him he did a pretty good job. it's flying smooth. i get to see your handiwork in action every single day. but as wonderful as it is to fly air force one, and it is wonderful, it's hard not to be
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amazed by the dreamliner. i noticed this one's going to united, one of our outstanding carriers. i have to mention that just because i'm from chicago. so, i've got to give a foo exewa props there. but this is the first commercial airplane to be made with 50% composite materials. it's lighter, it's faster, it's more fuel efficient than any airplane in its class. and it looks cool. the dreamliner is the plane of the future. and by building it here, boeing is taking advantage of a huge
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opportunity that exists right now to bring more jobs and manufacturing back to the united states of america. we know that the last few decades haven't been easy for manufacturing. new technology has made businesses more efficient and more productive. and that's a good thing. that's what raises our standards of living. it means we can get better products for less. but that also means the companies need fewer workers to make the same amount of product as they used to. and technology makes it easier for companies to set up shop and hire workers anywhere where there's an internet connection. so, the result has been this transition process that's been incredibly painful for a lot of families and a lot of communities. a lot of communities that used
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to rely on a lot of factory jobs. they saw those shrink. they saw those get shipped overseas. too many factories where people thought they'd retire, left home. too many jobs that provided a steady, stable life, a middle class life for people, got shipped overseas. look, the hard truth is, a lot of those jobs aren't going to come back because of these increased efficiencies. in a global economy, some companies are always going to find it more profitable to pick up and do business in other parts of the world. that's just the nature of a global economy. but that does not mean that we've got to just sit there and settle for a lesser future. i don't accept that idea. you don't accept that idea. america is the place where we can always do something to create new jobs and new opportunities and new manufacturing and new security
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for the middle class. and that's why i'm here today. that's our job. that's what we're going to do together. now, just today we actually took an important short-term step to strengthen our economy. just before we got here, congress did the right thing and voted to make sure that taxes would not go up on middle class families at the end of this month. congress also agreed to extend unemployment insurance for millions of americans, maybe some of your family members who are still out there looking for a job. so, i'm going to sign this bill right away when i get back home. you guys may remember this middle class tax cut is something i proposed in my jobs bill back in september. and because you kept the pressure on congress, because
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you reminded people what it means to have 40 bucks taken out of your paycheck every week, it got done. this is a big deal. and i want to thank members of congress for listening to the voices of the american people. it is amazing what happens when congress focuses on doing the right thing instead of just playing politics. this was a good example and congress should take pride in it. but the payroll tax cut is just the start. if we want middle class families to get ahead, we've got to deal with a set of economic challenges that existed even before this recession hit. we've got a choice right now. we can either settle for a country where a few people do really well and everybody else is struggling, or we can restore an economy where everybody gets a fair shot. and everybody does their fair share.
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and everybody plays by the same set of rules from washington to wall street to main street. everybody's doing their part. we're still recovering from one of the worst economic crisis in three generations. the worst in our lifetimes for most of us. we still have a long way to go to make sure everybody who can -- everybody who wants a job can find one. and every family can regain that sense of security that was slipping away even before this recession hit. but the tide is turning. the tide is beginning to turn our way. over the last 23 months, businesses have created 3.7 million new jobs. and american manufacturers are hiring for the first time since 1990. and the american auto industry is back and our economy is getting stronger. and that's why we can look
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towards a promising future. and boeing is an example of that. but to keep it going, the last thing we can afford to do is to go back to the very same policies that got us into this mess in the first place. we can't go backwards. we've got to go forwards. we can't go back to an economy that was weakened by outsourcing and bad debt and phoney financial profits. i want us to make stuff. i want us to sell stuff. in the state of the union i outlined a blueprint for an economy that's built to last. that has a strong foundation. an economy based on american manufacturing, american know-ho, american made energy, skills for american workers, and the values that made america great. the values that kathleen talked about, hard work and fair play and shared responsibility.
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that's what america is about. and that blueprint starts with american manufacturing. it starts with companies like this one. a lot of people say, well, they're going to be fewer manufacturing jobs than there were in the past. i already said, we're more efficient now. what took 1,000 people to make, you might only need 100 now. we understand that. we understand there are going to be more service jobs. that's important. we want to make sure we're promoting service industries as well. but manufacturing has a special place in america. when we make stuff and we're selling stuff, that creates jobs beyond just this plant. it raises standards of living for everybody. and here at boeing, business is booming. booming.
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last year orders for commercial aircraft rose by more than 50%. and to meet that demand, boeing hired 13,000 workers all across america, including 5,000 right here in everett. now the biggest challenge is how to turn out planes fast enough. jay, that's a high-class problem to have. so, this company is a great example of what american manufacturing can do. in a way that nobody else in the world can do it. and the impact of your success, as i said, goes beyond the walls of this plant. every dreamliner that rolls off the assembly line here in everett supports thousands of jobs in different industries all across the